May 18, 2023
Eric Bruno Custis Jr. Vontrell Lataize Trader

By Linda Cicoira

     Suspects in two previously unsolved murders in Accomack County were arrested Monday following indictments that were brought by a multi-jurisdictional grand jury last week. 

    The indictments were sealed by the court on May 12 until the arrests were made pertaining to the 2022 death of 41-year-old Jamar Antwyn Smith, also known as Muscle, of Onancock, and the 2019 death of 18-year-old Tayvion Laquan Smith, also known as Tay Man, of Parksley. Court records did not disclose if the two victims were related.

     Thirty-four-year-old Vontrell Lataize Trader, of Wise Court near Accomac, in the village of Daugherty, was indicted on counts of second-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a murder, and possession of a firearm by a violent felon, in connection with the shooting death of Jamar Smith on March 6, 2022. According to court records, the crimes occurred on Trader’s 33rd birthday. 

     Trader is being held without bond. A checklist for bond stated he was “polite” when brought before a magistrate. Trader has four prior felony convictions. In 2018, he was convicted of use of a firearm in a felony and robbery. He had probation violations in 2022 and 2023. 

      Just after Jamar Smith was killed, Sheriff Todd Wessells said his office received a report, at about 8 a.m., from the 9-1-1 center regarding “an unresponsive subject at a residence in the 26000 block of Drummondtown Road.” When deputies arrived, they found the victim with “apparent gunshot wounds.” He was pronounced dead at the scene.

   In the other case, 26-year-old Eric Bruno Custis Jr., of Wharton Circle, in Greenbush, was indicted on counts of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Tayvion Smith and use of a firearm in the murder, which occurred Dec. 13, 2019. Tayvion Smith was a 2019 graduate of Arcadia High School and worked at Perdue Farms.  

     A checklist for bond stated Custis “is currently being held without bond on unrelated charges. Polite. Does not have a valid operator’s license.” Court records show, Custis was convicted of falsely summoning a law enforcement officer in 2016.

     Records filed in Accomack General District Court show Custis was charged with use of a firearm in a felony and robbery in connection with an April 22, 2023 incident.

     Both suspects are natives of the Eastern Shore. The capiases ordering the arrest of Trader and Custis each stated that the suspects cannot be granted bond without the permission of the circuit court.

     Sheriff Wessells said the investigation into the incidents is continuing. He asked anyone with information about these or any other crime to contact his office at 757-787-1131 or 757-824-5666. Tips may also be submitted through the sheriff’s web site at    

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